COUNCILLORS are being urged to reject a bid for a licence to sell alcohol at a Halloween party in a Galashiels primary school later this month.

Nicola Douglas has submitted the bid on behalf of St Margaret’s RC Primary in Livingstone Place which will host the event on Friday, October 28 from 7 till 9pm.

In her submission to Scottish Borders Licensing Board, which meets on Friday, Ms Douglas says an attendance of around 80 is expected – and half of these will be children under the age of 15.

But she stresses that the proposed bar for the adult attendees will be in the school kitchen which is adjacent to the gym hall where the party, featuring a disco and games, will take place.

And no children will be permitted into the bar area.

Despite that assurance, the board’s licensing standards officer Ian Tunnah is urging members to refuse the application.

In his letter of objection, Mr Tunnah cites the board’s adopted policy statement aimed at protecting children from harm.

The policy states: “The board accepts many fund raising and community events benefit from granting an occasional licence, but would expect any organisation considering applying to take into account whether or not it is appropriate to have the sale of alcohol forming part of the event with particular regard to the licensing objective of protecting children from harm.

“This should be particularly considered for child centred events related to school, youth or sporting organisations.”

Mr Tunnah comments: “This event could well be such a child centred event…to grant a licence for such an event would be contrary to the board’s policy statement.”

The same policy is sited by the police in their objection to the St Margaret’s application.

On Friday, the board will also consider a bid from the MacArts Centre in Galashiels which wants an occasional drinks licence to cater for a Halloween-themed family “rave” organised by independent franchise Big Fish Little Fish on the afternoon of Saturday, October 29 from 2 till 4.30pm.

It will be the second visit to the venue for the organisers who failed in a previous attempt to get an alcohol licence for a similar event in July.

The police, Mr Tunnah and Dr Tim Patterson, the region’s director of public health, have all lodged objections.

With or without the licence, the ticketed and stewarded event – aimed at adults from the clubbing generation and children aged under eight – will still go ahead, according to the franchise’s Scottish regional manager Kirstie Wilson.

Tickets for the rave (£8 adults, £6 children, free for pre-walkers), featuring local deejay Gary Dickson – aka “The General” - are available from the MacArts Centre, Bridge Street on 01896 756852.